Personality Style, Family Environment And Treatment Outcome In A Multidisciplinary Treatment Program For Chronic Pain

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Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Personality style and family environment were studied in terms of their impact on the chronic pain experience and treatment outcome in a multidisciplinary treatment program. A total of 55 chronic pain patients were administered the Millon Behavioral Health Inventory, Family Environment Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, and West Haven Pain Screening Inventory during a pre-treatment evaluation period. Upon completing the four week treatment program, patients completed a second Beck Depression Inventory and a Discharge Evaluation Questionnaire. Patients were also evaluated by the psychology staff of the treatment program in order to assess treatment outcome. One month following discharge, patients completed several follow-up questionaires.Based on responses to the Millon Behavioral Health Inventory, patients were classified into four distinct personality subtypes. These personality subtypes showed modest differences in terms of pain experience and treatment outcome. 'Confident-Sociable' patients exhibited a slight trend towards having a more favorable outcome, reporting more overall improvement and more improvement in areas of psychosocial functioning. In contrast, 'Passive-Conforming' patients demonstrated the poorest outcome relative to the other personality types. 'Anxious-Moody' patients reported the highest level of depression at all three phases of the study. 'Hostile' patients demonstrated the second highest level of depression at pre-treatment and discharge and reported a slightly higher level of pain than the other types at follow-up.Family environment was found to have a low to moderate relationship to pain experience and treatment outcome. The Personal Growth Dimensions and Relationship Dimensions of family environment seemed to be most related to treatment success. There also seemed to be a slight relationship between a conflictual family environment and less success in the program.In general, the majority of patients demonstrated significant improvement. They evidenced a significant decrease in depression and pain intensity and improvement in all areas of psychosocial functioning. Overall, pain appeared to be less of a disruptive influence on patients' lives at follow-up.Results were discussed in terms of a theoretical understanding of personality dynamics and family environment as they relate to the treatment of the chronic pain syndrome. Possible measurement and sampling problems were also addressed as well as recommendations for future research in this area.


Psychology, Clinical

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